WASHINGTON (3/17/16)--A bill that would protect financial professionals and financial institutions reporting suspected elder exploitation has the support of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The Senior$afe Act of 2015 (S. 2216) was introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
“S. 2216 represents an important step toward improving protection for seniors by providing legal immunity for properly trained financial services employees who disclose concerns about financial exploitation of senior citizens,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “As this legislation moves through the Congress, we urge you to clarify how training should be defined, and to include a more expansive description of positions defined in section 2(b)(1)(A) to include a broader scope of supervisory positions in credit unions, which may be in the position to identify senior abuse.”
The bill states that a credit union employee who has received training regarding the identification and reporting of the suspected exploitation of a senior citizen can’t be held liable for disclosing such exploitation, if such individual made the disclosure in good faith and with reasonable care.
The bill also prevents credit unions themselves from being held liable for such disclosures, if their employees were properly trained, and were working at the credit union at the time of the disclosure.
Many credit unions provide financial management, retirement planning, and credit counseling to their members, including seniors and their families.
“The member-owner relationship between the credit union and its members puts credit union employees in a key position to detect suspicious activity around senior accounts because often times the employees know the members well,” Nussle wrote. “However, in some cases certain privacy laws make it difficult, or in some cases impossible, for employees to ring the alarm bell when exploitation is suspected.”
CUNA's Removing Barriers blog features an in-depth look at S. 2216.